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June 12th, 2012
04:49 PM ET

Pew survey: Doubt of God growing quickly among millennials

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The percentage of Americans 30 and younger who harbor some doubts about God’s existence appears to be growing quickly, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. While most young Americans, 68%, told Pew they never doubt God’s existence, that’s a 15-point drop in just five years.

In 2007, 83% of American millennials said they never doubted God’s existence.

More young people are expressing doubts about God now than at any time since Pew started asking the question a decade ago. Thirty-one percent disagreed with the statement “I never doubt the existence of God,” double the number who disagreed with it in 2007.

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When asked about doubts of God, no other generation showed a change of more than 2% in the past five years.

The survey found that the percentage of millennials who identify with a religion is remaining constant, while most other generations have seen religious identification increase in the past 10 years.

The findings about millennials and religion were part of a 168-page report that Pew released June 4 but were largely overlooked.

“Notably, people younger than 30 are substantially less likely than older people to say prayer is an important part of their lives,” the report said.

“Research on generational patterns shows that this is not merely a lifecycle effect,” it continued. “The Millennial generation is far less religious than were other preceding generations when they were the same age years ago.”

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The findings are part of Pew’s 2012 American Values Survey, which touches on issues including political partisanship, gay marriage and abortion.

Despite the findings on millennials, the survey shows that the United States continues to be a highly religious nation, with most Americans identifying with a particular faith.

Seventy-six percent of all respondents said prayer is an important part of their lives and agreed that “we all will be called before god at the Judgment Day to answer for our sins.” About 80% said they have never doubted the existence of God.

The report points to a growing divide between the youngest and oldest Americans on belief, religion and social issues.

According to Jesse Galef, communications director for the Secular Student Alliance, the growth in “doubting” youths has led to a surge in secular student groups.

“For a lot of millennial atheists, they are expecting to find a group, they are coming to campus, and if they don’t find one, they are starting one,” Galef said. “This is completely different than what other generations grew up with.”

Atheist rally continues in spite of rain; students highlighted throughout

The Secular Student Alliance has affiliates on 357 American campuses, Galef said, up from 81 such affiliates in 2007.

Galef says the Internet has created a place for young people to discuss religious doubts.

“It enables anybody to have open discussions without fearing if their parents would find out or what their communities would say,” he said. "The more safe places we create for young people to discuss their doubts, the more they can inspire questions in others."

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Polls

soundoff (4,013 Responses)
  1. boocat

    Reminds me of a couple of lines from the movie "The Devil's Advocate" spoken by Al Pacino (who played the devil) – "God is a sadist.....he's an absentee landlord."

    June 14, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  2. Andrew

    Faith is a choice sometimes, not a feeling. People should know why they believe what they believe, The Bible even says this. Perhaps this is a generation willing to ask the important, and often hard, questions? I am a Christian man, and I have no problem with someone doubting the existence of God. Faith exists in a context of rational doubt. The opposite of faith is not doubt, the opposite of faith is to not trust.

    June 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Cq

      Andrew
      Why trust the ancient beliefs of one people over those of any other? Placed side-by-side, ancient Egyptian, Mayan, Australian aborigine, Inuit, Chinese, African, Norse, Celtic and most other belief systems are just as believable as the Christ story. So, the question is, did you pick Christianity because of some other reasoning, or simply because it happened to be the religious system that is the most popular in your geographic location amongst your peers?

      June 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • JWT

      I do not doubt the existance of god.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  3. Gospel

    The people on this board who do not believe in the God Almighty are simply fooling themselves and leading an ephemeral existence. I know that God exists because I have seen him floating in the clouds above us, his beard acting as do the wings of a bird. The evidence for his existence is clear – could the gas giant planet Jipeto have been created without his mighty beard? I think not. Repent soon my friends, for we will all be judged in God's eyes and beard in time.

    June 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Mark

      I'm about 95% sure that you're a troll.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Kafir

      Hilarious.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      The Poe's Law award goes to....

      June 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  4. Huff

    The first comment on this Blog said Mitt Romney is not a Christian. It appears that too many are simply anxious to comment without correct information. Mitt belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the age of 19 he served a two-and-a-half year mission to preach the divinity of Jesus and his restored gospel of Jesus Christ as found in the Bible and other sacred scriptures. He later became a Bishop in the Church helping others follow Christ. He has been faithful to Jesus Christ all his life. Please get your facts right before sharing incorrect information, no matter who told you the falsehood.

    June 14, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • WhatNow

      Actually, that's not true. Go back to the first page and you will see that the comment is referring to the article, not Mr. Romney.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Which God??

      Does (Walter) "Mitty" still wear magical underwear? Does he get his own planet when he dies? Hey, why did your boy Brigham Young slaughter a wagon train full of people passing through? Nice 'religion you got there. Killers, false prophets (read profits), and a flase teaching based on macaroni.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  5. RAYH

    Please, if you have a coment, do your homework first, not after you've made incorrect statements. Mitt Romney belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served a 2 and a half year mission to preach the divinity of Jesus Christ and draw all mankind to Him. He served as a Bishop in the Church helping others understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. He has been active in the Church all his life. But, he doesn't "wear his religion on his shoulder." Do some good. Get the facts first, then comment.

    June 14, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  6. shep

    Mitt Romney doesn't believe in Jesus Christ. He's a Mormon.

    June 14, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • WWJD

      Idiot

      June 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Mark

      Many Christians do not believe in Jesus. They are playing the odds of the flawed Pascal's Wager.

      June 14, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  7. RICHARD

    WHILE TRUE statistically the article does not mention how we arrived at such low numbers. The primary reason for this is the almost criminal neglect of spiriltual leaders to do their duty before God, before the church and before the community.

    "If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discernment, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in Christianity, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that their very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it."
    – Charles Finney

    but that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

    June 14, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • YeahRight

      "WHILE TRUE statistically the article does not mention how we arrived at such low numbers. The primary reason for this is the almost criminal neglect of spiriltual leaders to do their duty before God, before the church and before the community. "

      Nah, it has to do with the fact that the bible has been proven to not be an historical document. Plus when you factor in many of the stories were stolen from other pagan religions, it has nothing to do with your religious leaders and more to do with people aren't being brainwashed into your cult.

      June 14, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  8. Ologies

    Can the Rapture happen yet? I am pretty tired of being preached at by people who literally believe in a 2000 year old zombie.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Berk

      Call Starfleet, and have them send all the ships they have with working transporters to beam these nuts up, already!

      June 14, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • sidojo

      MORON !!!!!

      June 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
      • Ologies

        I couldn't have said it better. Zombies aren't real, sillies!

        June 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  9. GC

    The CNN reporter asked the representative from the secular youth group was he an indoctrinator for atheism. What about the indoctrination from birth that most children are subjected to as they are brainwashed into thinking the way their parents were taught. She said to him that religion does no harm. Why doesn't somebody tell her to read some history books:The Inquisition, Northern Ireland. What about current times, where religious wars ares still being fought and the Catholic Church harbors those who prey on children. Maybe she should read the news that she is reporting. We attack other countries for their narrow minded beliefs, which we should, but let's not forget to hold ourselves up to the same scrutiny. I saw a great bumper sticker which said: Don't always believe what you think.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  10. Millenial

    As an young person of faith in America, I wish that CNN – instead of presenting only one "expert's opinion" – would have had someone other than the news anchor to present the supposed view of questions of Christianity. I guess I just feel that that interview wasn't a fair representation of both viewpoints.

    June 14, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Mark

      Dan Merica is not a news anchor and this was not an interview. This is scientific poll of American views.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      It wasn't an 'opinion piece', it was a survey and the article is reporting on the results of it.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • Beth1000

      On the interview of the secular organization's spokesperson, the news anchor suggested the secular organizations was filling high school and college students heads with their philosophy. Let's set the record straigtht. When parents force their kids to go to church every Sunday or go to Bible School, starting at age 6 or so, this is the real brainwashing. At ages 16-22, young adults/adults have been taught to reason, critique and argue.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • WhatNow

      It really is important to understand the difference between opinion and facts. This was the report of a survey, not one persons opinion.

      June 14, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  11. Pastapharian

    Atheism or agnosticism is a conscious choice brought about by critical thinking and reason. It will result in less indoctrination and brainwashing of children of future generations. Progress, and finally some hope for the human race.

    June 14, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Mark

      Only a God of myth would need you to accept totally irrational concepts on nothing but blind faith.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • RICHARD

      OPINION and personal philosophy is never created in a vacuum. There is always indoctrination, education and experience involved; religious education, atheist propaganda, targeted marketing campaigns, even nationalistic indoctrination. Everyone thinks and believes according to the information they receive.

      Religion has the advantage of spiritual influence and is not limited to worldly impressions alone.

      To suppose that atheism has somehow inherited the intellectual and moral high ground when they deny morality and the efficacy of religious training as a point of bias is absurd as well as hypocritical.

      but that's just me, hollering from the choir loft...

      June 14, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • YeahRight

      "when they deny morality and the efficacy of religious training as a point of bias is absurd as well as hypocritical"

      The only problem with your poor logic is that religion has killed more human being throughout our history which proves it lacks real morality or value. Plus then take a good look at civil right in our history and your point really becomes moot. LMAO!

      June 14, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • LinCA

      @RICHARD

      You said, "Religion has the advantage of spiritual influence and is not limited to worldly impressions alone."
      That's a pretty bold statement to make. Do you have any evidence to back that up? Where does this "spiritual influence" originate?

      Religion is kept alive by indoctrination alone. There is no rational argument to be made in support. There is no evidence for the existence of any god. There is no rational basis for religion.

      You said, "To suppose that atheism has somehow inherited the intellectual and moral high ground when they deny morality and the efficacy of religious training as a point of bias is absurd as well as hypocritical."
      Atheism holds the intellectual high ground because it is the only rational position. Until there is a case to be made for the existence of gods, and it is supported by evidence, it will remain tat way. Until there is evidence for gods, religious beliefs have zero merit.

      June 14, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • JoJo

      Thanks for touching on one of the most disgusting issues I find with organized religion: the brainwashing of children. However, I'm going to play devil's advocate for once and bring up a serious issue that we aren't addressing when this subject comes up.

      Kids are not being taught moral codes anymore.

      It needs to be said.. we keep talking about how we don't need religion to instill moral values in our children, but I fear this may be another example where our actions don't really speak as loud as our words.

      Children are continuing to progress to a state of utter narcissism. We knew a long time ago there were going to be problems , especially with so many parents that don't have time to be there for their kids. Well, now that time is upon is. We need a national movement, not just a nodding of heads on comment sections, to drive the ideas of instilling (let's be honest, it's still just brainwashing) some values and principle-minded thinking into our kids.

      Mark my words, the next generation is going to be almost animal-like! American culture is so dumb-downed and crude now, it's apparent to me at least that Western culture is devolving, not the other way around!

      June 14, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Agrav8td

      YeahRight: Saying that religion kills people is the same as saying guns kill people. Only people kill people. It's the evil person or people behind the gun or the religion that chooses to kill.

      June 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • YeahRight

      "Saying that religion kills people is the same as saying guns kill people. Only people kill people. It's the evil person or people behind the gun or the religion that chooses to kill."

      The people that have chosen to kill associate that killing with their religion. Nice twisting job on your part. LMAO!

      June 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Agrav8td, Might I point out a little flaw in your argument... While of course guns rarely are solely responsible for killing people, they are far more effective than say a knife or a club. A serial killer may kill 40-50 people, but it takes ideologies such as religion to kill people in mass quanti.ties. Religion is not the only guilty party in the mass killing of humans but it is definitely one of the contributing factors. Shouldn't we seek to eliminate all things that make killing many people so easily? Jared Lee Loughner killed 6 people and injured 14 others in a matter of minutes. I suspect the numbers would be quite different if he were armed with a knife. If genocide is based on religious hate, can't we agree that the problem is the same underlying problem behind religion. That is, the false belief of exclusivity and rightness above another person's belief.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  12. Eddie Lim

    GOD is a reflection of YOU. You can create whatever GOD ,u wish to create. For an example , if you are a terrorist, u would LOVE to create a GOD of TERRORISM. Some would be crazy over money and for sure he would go for a GOD TO GIVE HIM , LOTS OF MONEY. We are just like a computer , we can create many things GOOD and EVIL....but please remember this " EVERY ACTIION HAS A RE-ACTION " SO PLEASE THINK WISELY...!

    June 14, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Mark

      Computers are neither good nor evil. Only humans can choose to do the right thing or wrong thing, based on rational thought.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  13. Methusalem

    Attention! Attention!! The communist state is taking your children away from you - stop eating junk food, receiving junk information!

    June 14, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Mark

      You know, just because someone is an atheist, that doesn't necessarily make them a communist. The vast majority of atheists in the US are capitalists.

      June 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • JWT

      He wasn't talking about atheists.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  14. sphere82

    What about those who say maybe there is no god, or maybe there is one, but it makes little difference, because we have no way of knowing anyway? do we call those atheists or agnostics? Because if you say there is god, it is exactly like if you said that around our universe there is another one, but light green – you simply cannot prove that, and i cannot refute that, either. Certainly not while we are alive.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • Sam1967

      Gnosticism and Theism are two different scales that can be used to describe religious belief. You may ask someone about their belief in God, and then their confidence in that belief. So, for the typical person in the US, you'll probably encounter a Gnostic Theist (specially a Christian), which means that they have a belief in God, and they have no doubts about that belief. An Atheist may be Agnostic, and unsure about their belief in God, but it's just as possible to be Gnostic and Atheist.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Trumpy

      Theism/Atheism is a statement of BELIEF.
      Theists BELIEVE in a god or gods. Atheists lack a BELIEF in a god or gods.

      Gnosticism/Agnosticism is a statement of professed KNOWLEDGE.
      Gnostics claim to KNOW that there is a god. Agnostics make no claims of KNOWING whether or not there is a god.

      They are separate, though closely related, concepts meaning that one can hold both positions. If you do not claim to know if there is a god or not, but do not hold a belief in one, you are an agnostic atheist (also known as weak, negative, implicit, or soft atheism). If you do not hold a belief in god AND claim to KNOW there is no god, you are a gnostic atheist (also known as strong, positive, explicit, or hard atheism).
      Likewise, if you believe in a god or gods but do not claim to actually know that they exist, you are an agnostic theist and if you both believe in a god AND claim to have special knowledge that that god is real then you are a gnostic theist.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • sphere82

      Sam1967 and Trumpy, thank you for your response!

      June 14, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  15. Atheist Hunter

    Atheists spend their days on religious sites arguing about a God they don't believe in. Why?

    June 14, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Because beliefs inform actions and therefore beliefs are AS important if not MORE important than politics, and faith is the worst reason to believe anything.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Trumpy

      I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the spread of these atheist arguments in online forums just *might* account for some portion of the stunning 5-year jump in doubt about god among the generation most likely to go online the most often. Religious belief affects the lives of atheists and so they have a vested interest in reducing the influence of that belief in the secular, legal sphere. Debating believers is one way to do that.

      Want to know why atheists spend time online debating a god they don't believe? Just read the first paragraph of this article:
      "The percentage of Americans 30 and younger who harbor some doubts about God’s existence appears to be growing quickly, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. While most young Americans, 68%, told Pew they never doubt God’s existence, that’s a 15-point drop in just five years."

      June 14, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Primewonk

      Kind of like fundiots spending time on science stories, arguing about science they choose to be ignorant about.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Which God??

      Just telling everyone that your 'faith' in a make belive sky-fairy is false. You cannot, any never will, prove that there is a god. Don't try using the buy-bull as proof as it is the least reliable source. That's why.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • Whizzbang

      Because the internet loves a good troll.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • nistseildaed7

      "Atheists spend their days on religious sites arguing about a God they don't believe in. Why?"

      Envy and Pride

      June 15, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • LinCA

      @Atheist Hunter

      You said, "Atheists spend their days on religious sites arguing about a God they don't believe in. Why?"
      It's my contribution to the mental health of society.

      If I can prevent a single soul from falling into the delusion of religion, or rescue one that already has, I will have accomplished more than all prayers combined.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  16. Keith

    Your doubts of God existing will be erased when he judges the nations for the evil they commit. When He destroys America, know that it is a deserved judgment. Among many sins that have piled up to the throneroom of God, is the sacrifice of innocent blood to the god of abortion-whom many of you worship. The US exports this evil as a condition to receiving foreign aid. The church has grown comfortable with this and turns a blind eye to this atrocity. When the hammer falls, you have yourselves to blame.
    According to a report by the China-based human rights organization 64Tianwang, the woman, Feng Jianmei, was beaten and dragged into a vehicle by a group of Family Planning Officials while her husband, Deng Jiyuan, was out working. The officials asked for RMB 40,000 in fines from Feng Jianmei's family. When they did not receive the money, they forcibly aborted Feng at seven months, laying the body of her aborted baby next to her in the bed. Feng is under medical treatment in Ankang City, Zhenpin County, Zengjia Town, Yupin village.
    http://www.standardnewswire.com/news/731567345.html
    Notice how the "Planned Parenthood" murderers laid the aborted baby next to the woman. Murdering pigs. You Oprah Winfrey/Bill Gates types want poplulation control? Well, God will oblige your desires-He will eliminate vast portions of the population-in America(and it won't be the unborn this time around). The arrows in God's quiver of judgment are many: radiation poisoning from Fukushima, economic collapse and civil war, mutated swine/bird flu, etc. The church in this had better REPENT, and soon.
    2Ch 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Keith

      “12 June 2012: Steve Quayle broke the news in real time during our special Sunday Edition of The Hagmann & Hagmann Report: Italy’s oldest and 4th largest bank, Bank Network Investments, or BNI, ran out of money and declared a “bank holiday.” Now I will ask our readers and listeners to try to find information about this significant event in the major media in the United States. Go ahead, we’ll wait.”
      Where's cnn and fox news on this one?

      June 14, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Keith

      Maybe cnn and fox news were just too busy concentrating all their journalistic resources on this:
      “Greeks pulled their cash out of the banks and stocked up with food ahead of a cliffhanger election on Sunday that many citizens fear will result in the country being forced out of the euro.

      Bankers said up to 800 million euros ($1 billion) were leaving major banks daily and retailers said some of the money was being used to buy pasta and canned goods in case of shortages, as fears of returning to the drachma were fanned by rumors that a radical leftist leader may win the election.”
      Or not. Too busy with Martha Stewart, Charlie Sheen, Lance Armstrong-you know, the REAL IMPORTANT issues facing our nation. Wake up, America!

      June 14, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Keith

      Are you getting the picture yet that the major media are just propaganda outlets that pride themselves on shaping public opinion and NOT on reporting the actual NEWS?

      June 14, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Trumpy

      Your doubts in Odin existing will likewise be erased when he judges nations evil blah blah blah...

      June 14, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Which God??

      Keith, it must be very comforting to you to live in a make believe world, where your sky-fairy daady protects you from all the ills of the world. Since your faith and prayers are so powerul for you why hasn't your god helped end the droughts in many parts of the world, where no one has ever heard of your god? Oh, sky-fairy has condemned them to hell. He's CAUSING the drought, right? I mean he IS responsible for all that goes on in the world, right? Right Keith? He's commiting infanticide and genocide against those poor drought stricken people. Some fooking god you got there bub.

      June 14, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Anna

      God's quite a patriot lately. Why would he favor the US over the entire rest of the world that he supposedly created? That's a really selfish view, probably written by an American himself.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Thanks for speaking the truth, Keith. This generation of arrogant overfed, self absorbed, rebellious people is fitting the description of the one Noah contended with. But God will bring it either to it's knees, or to crawl in the dust! Even the ground is weeping for the evil that's walking upon it in times we're living in!

      June 15, 2012 at 7:26 am |
  17. Reality

    Only for our Christian sisters and brothers:

    Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

    The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

    p.4

    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    p.168. by Ted Peters:

    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Christians don't worship the words of the pope.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:17 am |
  18. Facts Reveal

    Atheists number is too insignificant and immaterial that the world could care less whether they exist or not. They must make a noise to be able to get noticed and it was the primary caused of all these hullabaloos.

    They would kill to solicit a lil amount of attention.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • Reality

      http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

      Religion………………………… Adherents

      Christianity ……………………..2.1 billion

      Islam…………………………… 1.5 billion

      Irreligious/agnostic/atheism…… 1.1 billion

      Hinduism 900 million
      Chinese traditional religion 394 million
      Buddhism 376 million
      Animist religions 300 million
      African traditional/diasporic religions 100 million
      Sikhism 23 million
      Juche 19 million
      Spiritism 15 million

      Judaism…………………………………….. 14 million

      Baha'i 7 million
      Jainism 4.2 million
      Shinto 4 million
      Cao Dai 4 million
      Zoroastrianism 2.6 million
      Tenrikyo 2 million
      Neo-Paganism 1 million
      Unitarian Universalism 800,000
      Rastafari Movement 600,000

      June 14, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • All atheists are irreligious but NOT ALL IRRELIGIOUS are atheist

      Atheists make up only 1-2% of the world's populace. FACT!

      June 14, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • Facts Reveal

      Thank you both for proving my point.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • sphere82

      Reality – Juche is a religion? up till now I thought it was the name of the state ideology of North Korea.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Calvin

      "They would kill to solicit a lil amount of attention."

      I believe the historical record clearly shows it is religions that are willing to "kill" to make new believers.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Reality

      "Juche is a Communist government sponsored mixture of ideology, philosophy and religion for an estimated 22,000,000 people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). Juche was created by North Korea's President Kim Il-Sung (April 15, 1912-July 8, 1994) in 1955. At that time, North Korea was being influenced by the Communist governments of the U.S.S.R. and People's Republic of China.

      Initially, Juche was an ideology consisting of two basic ideas. First, the Korean Worker's Party revolution belonged to the people. Second, the masses of people needed to be organized or guided by a "Great Leader", who was none other than Kim Il-Sung himself. "

      June 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • WWJD

      Ever heard of the Inquisition?

      June 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Reality

      "Since conceptions of atheism vary, determining how many atheists exist in the world today is difficult.[20] According to one estimate, atheists make up about 2.3% of the world's population, while a further 11.9% are nonreligious.[21] According to another, rates of self-reported atheism are among the highest in Western nations, again to varying degrees: United States (4%), Italy (7%), Spain (11%), Great Britain (17%), Germany (20%), and France (32%).[22] According to a 2009 report by the American Religious Identification Survey, people claiming to adhere to "no religion" made up 15% of the population in the US.[23]"

      20.^ a b c Zuckerman, Phil (2007). Martin, Michael T. ed. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-521-60367-6. OL22379448M. Retrieved 2011-04-09.

      21.^ a b "Worldwide Adherents of All Religions by Six Continental Areas, Mid-2005". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2005. Retrieved 2007-04-15. 2.3% Atheists: Persons professing atheism, skepticism, disbelief, or irreligion, including the militantly antireligious (opposed to all religion).

      11.9% Nonreligious: Persons professing no religion, nonbelievers, agnostics, freethinkers, uninterested, or dereligionized secularists indifferent to all religion but not militantly so.

      22.^ a b "Religious Views and Beliefs Vary Greatly by Country, According to the Latest Financial Times/Harris Poll". Financial Times/Harris Interactive. 2006-12-20. Retrieved 2011-04-09.

      23.^ "Times Topics: Atheism". The New York Times. 2009-04-27. Retrieved 2012-06-12.

      June 14, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Facts Reveal

      @Calvin & WWD

      Ever heard of idiomatic expressions? Or your level of intelligence is doing the limbo as most atheists do.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  19. Mark

    As societies develop, becoming wealthier and more educated, they become less religious. This trend is not unique to the USA, it is observed around the world. In one or two hundred years the majority of the developed world will be irreligious.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:29 am |
    • Atheist Hunter

      "As societies develop, becoming wealthier and more educated, they become less religious. This trend is not unique to the USA, it is observed around the world. In one or two hundred years the majority of the developed world will be irreligious." The USA has become poorer not wealthier as they have become less religious and less "Christian." In one or two hundred years OR LESS Jesus will be back and people who deny God will be on their knees before Him!

      June 14, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • Religion is too much for atheists to handle

      "In one or two hundred years the majority of the developed world will be irreligious."

      Many of self-proclaimed elites had said that one or couple (and even more) centuries ago. And they've lived and died miserably proving their cause but all had gone in vain.

      It's not too late for you to have a change of mind and pick sides or suffer the same fate.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • Willy

      I won-t get on my knees before anybody or god. i never had reason to believe in god and don-t expect this to change.
      i live my life believing in life and love and happiness until my cells stop working. then dust. count me or not for any of your (non)religious categories, i-m happy with.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      " In one or two hundred years OR LESS Jesus will be back and people who deny God will be on their knees before Him!"

      You know who had the first failed prediction of Jesus' return?.........JESUS!
      Now it is just a Christian tradition and you are doing a great job with it.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Calvin

      Oh please, Hunter, you guys have been sayiong that for 2100 years and you've NEVER been right. Heck, your own "savior" predicted he would return "within the lifetime of those present to hear his voice". Let's just say your religion's predictive powers are about the same as a gypsy fortune-teller.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Mark

      @Hunter, for being all-knowing your Savior is awefully ignorant.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Trumpy

      @Atheist Hunter: "The USA has become poorer not wealthier as they have become less religious and less "Christian.""

      Can you back this up with evidence and sources? Because America has the highest median household income in the world according tot he OECD (up from second highest in 2007) and just ranked the 11th happiest nation on the planet, which could be better, but with 200 nations, isn't that bad (and is also up from previous years).
      In other words, according to actual economic data, we seem to be getting richer and happier.

      Lying for Jesus is still lying, AH, though if you have actual sources to back up your claim, I'd love to hear them...

      June 14, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Cq

      Atheist Hunter
      Atheism appears to be increasing alongside (or in reaction to) the rise in fundamentalism here in the USA, so you could be blaming the wrong cause. To me, the emphasis upon limiting our previous scientific superiority, a major factor in our former economic position, by dumbing down science education places the blame upon the religious.

      Also, how do you come to the couple of hundred year figure for Christ's return? Come to you in a dream, or something?

      June 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  20. vicky

    My IQ is 133-143 and deny the existence of any God. There is a proof that people with a higher intelect deny the existence of any divinity intervening into the reality of life of people on Earth. However, the evolution has never been proven and in spite of the fact that many today's scientists confirm the evolution, they have no proof, not at all, cos DNA (after changes in environment) has never reprogrammed into something more suitable for survival of species or of an individual, on the contrary it deteriorate and the species always die. Thus there had to be something (or someone) giving the first iimpulse or even someone who genetically manipulated our DNA, and for this, for me, it was not a God, nor unconscious evolution, but rather extraterrestrial intelligence, named Elohim, very established term in Holy Bible, which is an atheist book where are mentioned extraterrestrials who created life on Earth thanks to their genetics and biology, geology and meteorology etc.... Science is then my religion, if you wanna know more, lets check rael dot org and download http://www.rael.org/download.php the books are for free, especially INTELLIGENT DESIGN... cheers and have fun 😉 give love 😉

    June 14, 2012 at 7:08 am |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Elohim is Yahweh who is God! God created science. If there is an ET, God created him too.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Primewonk

      I think any person claiming to be a genius needs to be able to write a cogent paragraph.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Just Claims, No Truth

      Intellegent people can be crazy too...

      June 14, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Trumpy

      Shame we actually understand evolution better than we do gravity and there is no indication or evidence for anything that you claim.

      I do love by the way that you try to portray evolutionary theory as "not proven" despite the fact that every major scientific discovery in biology in the last 150 years has only turned out to support the theory, that more than 99.9% of all working biologists accept the theory–which according to one study is an even higher rate than professional historians who accept that the Holocaust happened, i.e., proportionally more professional historians deny the holocaust than biologists deny evolutionary theory–as well as every major accredited medical and biological association in the developed world, and that more than 2 million peer-reviewed scientific papers have been written on the field in the last 10 years alone in the the English language alone....yet, you then claim with absolute conviction that the Bible is actually testament to an alien presence on Earth who genetically mutated DNA for intelligent life (let's not ask where that alien's own intelligence and DNA came from I guess) based on absolutely NO evidence other than a Raelian PDF you found on the web and your own supposition and personal incredulity at the idea of life arising through entirely naturalistic means.
      It'd almost be cute if it weren't so pathetic.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:24 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.